Uncaged Brief

Dems Tear Into Biden For ‘Inconsistent’ Title 42 Immigration Stance

On Thursday, dozens of House and Senate Democrats chastised President Biden for maintaining a Trump-era immigration policy that allows the government to reject asylum seekers without first hearing their cases.

Title 42, which went into effect in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, permits border officers to re-route migrants over the US-Mexico border for public health reasons. The Biden administration sought several times to discontinue the strategy, but backtracked when the southern border immigration crisis erupted.

“Anyone who tells you that the only way to secure our border is to punish asylum seekers is lying,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told reporters. “It’s why we are appalled to see President Biden replicate President Trump’s immigration strategy.”

Menendez was one of 77 Democratic members of Congress who signed a letter urging Biden to repeal Title 42 and abandon a new regulation proposed by Biden on Jan. 5 that would restrict migrants from entering the US if they did not first seek asylum in a third nation.

“Last year, we welcomed your administration’s announcement that it would move to end Title 42,” lawmakers said in the letter. “We are therefore distressed by the deeply inconsistent choice to expand restrictions on asylum seekers after your administration determined it was no longer necessary for public health.”

Title 42 supporters claim it has helped to suppress the current border problem. According to CNN, a Department of Homeland Security official attributed a more than 50% decline in daily immigration interactions in January from December’s average of 7,000 to the continuation of the strategy and other Biden efforts to deport individuals.

“Title 42 is intended to be a public health tool — that’s what we’re told. Does anybody seriously believe the administration is doing this to prevent COVID-19?” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said. “It’s a stopgap measure kept in place by far-right judges and expanded under this administration that denies the right to asylum by failing to address the underlying structural problems with our immigration system.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed the proposal as well, saying that Biden’s new measures “only make it more difficult for the most vulnerable to legally enter the United States.”

“The right to seek asylum is enshrined in domestic and international law and the United States is a shining example, and we have sought and aspired to be an example to uphold international law,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the briefing. “Instead, this administration is making it effectively impossible to seek refuge at our border.”

In May, a federal court in Louisiana delayed Biden’s order to end the policy following a complaint filed by 24 Republican state attorneys general saying that discontinuing the strategy would result in a flood of migrants overwhelming immigration resources.

Six months later, a senior US district judge ordered the policy’s repeal in a judgement on a separate lawsuit brought on behalf of asylum seekers by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Weeks later, the Biden administration abruptly reversed course when the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would seek a stay of a previous ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a replacement policy.

The case is currently before the Supreme Court, which issued a stay last month to keep Title 42 in effect until it can consider an appeal filed by 19 Republican-led states this spring. The states believe that they should be permitted to intervene because the Biden administration abandoned its defense of the program.

Exit mobile version